pinan Shodan

Karate Kata: Oyo, Bunkai and Henka – What does it mean?

Literary Meaning Pervasively used in Beikoku Shidokan as
Kata Japanese word for shape/model/form, used for prearranged sequences with moves For practicing structured curriculum; used for identifying prearranged sequences of moves.

Sensei Iha’s teaching, “Kata is the foundational form by which the body develops proper posture, breathing, balance, flexibility, and unified muscle/tendon/hip control for maximum power.”

Kumite Japanese word for grappling hands/meeting of hands Structured sparring/two partner drills(yakusoku)

Sensei Iha’s teaching, “Friendship is of the most importance for learning karate. You can’t learn karate without partners. If you want to improve your techniques, you must cooperate with each other.”

Bunkai To take apart and analyze/disassemble/the meaning of movement Pervasively used as for “application of kata”, within the purview of standard kata/application. However, the purview of this word may not necessarily equate to unstructured/out-of-curriculum street applications.

Sensei Iha’s teaching, “Jutsu encompasses the bunkai, or analysis of the martial techniques; only some of which are derived from kata. Over time, these techniques become muscle memory. Almost all kata movements have multiple bunkai, but bunkai is not limited to kata analysis nor the bunkai of curriculum.”

Oiyo/Oyo Practical Applications/to put use to Used with bunkais as in Oyo bunkai which may mean applying kata moves that are different from the applications used in regular/standard bunkais . However, still keeping applications close to the structured curriculum.

Sensei Iha’s teaching, “Ryaku is the abbreviation or the continuous counter-application to the bunkai. It is represented in the spontaneous free flowing of movements as counters to attacks. Oyo bunkai in the curriculum is a baby step toward ryaku; moving from block printing to cursive, yet still within the “wording” of kata. Ryaku is a free composition based upon the theme of kata.”

Henka/Hanka Change or Variation May be used for individual interpretation/variation/change of kata/bunkai/kumite moves/patterns etc. Putting differently, moving away from structured sequences/flows/patterns et al.



Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo


Roberto is an 8th Dan, Kyoshi, awarded by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu. Roberto began his martial arts journey in 1969 and started training with Sensei Iha in 1979.  He continues to train with Sensei Iha and is now one of Iha’s senior students.


He focuses on teaching proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA. Many call the Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo the Martial Arts Grad School because Roberto teaches proven effective often brutal, pressure points, joint locks and grappling applications that Sensei Iha taught him during 40+ years of instruction. See examples of traditional Kata, Kumite, & Bunkai here.

Roberto is a member of the Mid-West Beikoku Shidokan Karate Black Belt Promotion Board and the National Black Belt Promotion Board. Among his numerous awards are:

“Best Martial Arts Teacher in Washington, DC” in 2017; “Best Martial Arts in Washington, DC” 2018; “Best Martial Arts in Alexandria” 2019; and “Best of” in 2018 and 2019


Virginia Dojo, 6416 Grovedale Dr., #302-B, Alexandria, VA 22310